The New Dining Experiences at NADAGOGO Inspired by Japan’s Sake Region

New Dining Experiences at Yakitori-Izakaya NADAGOGO Inspired by Japan’s Sake Region

Convivial yakitori-izakaya NADAGOGO, embracing the charming culinary and sake culture of Kobe’s picturesque five Nada villages, celebrates its soft opening in Ship Street amid Wanchai’s hip neighbourhood with a glorious al-fresco dining area. Uniquely conceived as an izakaya with 3 distinctive culinary concepts, it presents authentic Tokyo- and Hakata-style yakitori, robatayaki and washoku led by accomplished veteran Japanese chefs Shimoji Atsushi and Tsunenori Takahashi.

Nodding to the revered Nada Gogo region of Kobe, steeped in sake heritage, and inspired by the celebrated gourmet culture of both the country’s capital and Hakata in Fukuoka City, NADAGOGO is guided by an overriding ethos of the four ‘A’s: authenticity, affordability, accessibility and atmosphere.

Its multifaceted approach ensures a genuine, welcoming and immersive Japanese dining experience of the highest quality, encouraging joyful discovery and shared celebration, complemented by handpicked sake brewed with prized yeast.

The Japanese inspired interior

The new yakitori-izakaya spans 1,000 square feet and accommodates 60+ diners inside and out. It features an expansive counter that serves as a culinary stage, a semi-private room for up to 12 people, and an eclectic outdoor area.

The authentic ambience transports diners to a bygone era of Japan, blending natural materials like wooden beams and stone with decorative touches like traditional lanterns and Shinto straw ropes. Contemporary elements infuse a modern, street-style vibe, while a calming palette of warm, earthy browns, sand and cool greys enhances the relaxing atmosphere.

Delectable Yakitori Prepared to be Shared by All Tastes
Juicy, aromatic yakitori is the lifeblood of NADAGOGO, drawing diners to its merry central counter where Chef Tsunenori Takahashi and home-grown Japanese culinary expert Chef Anson Ma hold court. Helming top yakitori and ramen restaurants in Hong Kong for 30 years, Chiba-born Chef Takahashi’s illustrious career has spanned 3 decades; of Chef Ma’s more than 15 years of experience, 7 were spent at his own izakaya.

The bright and breezy Hakata style of yakitori encompasses not just chicken skewers, but also pork belly, beef and vegetables, all grilled to perfection. Reaching 850°C in just 90 seconds, the high-heat stove imported from Japan ensures each delicious morsel has a slightly charred, aromatic edge while retaining its natural flavours.

Three varieties of Japanese-bred chicken are sourced. The forest chickens of Okayama Prefecture are known for their fresh-tasting meat derived from a feed mixed with bark charcoal powder and wood vinegar. Bred for at least 80 days, Awaodori chicken from Tokushima yields a low-fat, collagen-rich meat with reddish streaks beloved for its umami taste, while the firm yet tender and juicy quality of Kurosatsuma chicken from Satsuma is highly prized.

Yakitori is grilled either with a sprinkling of sea salt from Ehime or Himalayan salt or slathered in a homemade sauce made with fresh chicken, sake and soy sauce.

The menu spans popular cuts including Chicken Thigh (HK$42), Skin (HK$38), Liver (HK$38), Gizzard (HK$38), the soft-bone and cartilage treats of Bonjiri (Tail, HK$38) and Neck (HK$42), Boneless Wing Tips (HK$46) and Wing (HK$32). Prized parts like Shoulder (HK$48), Chicken Paw Meat (HK$46), Chicken Crest (HK$42), Lantern (Cochin, HK$68) and Diaphragm (HK$48) are grilled for diners on a first-come, first-served basis, while the rarer cuts may not be available every day.

The sauce-grilled treats of Minced Chicken Stick with Egg Yolk (HK$55) and Japanese Leek and chicken Skewers (HK$42) deliver a refreshing contrast to the main meat, while Chicken Filet with Green Onions Salt (HK$42) is a piquant must-try. Red meat lovers will relish Thick-Sliced Beef Tongue (HK$78), whose quality is assured by restricting the cut to only the best third of the tongue.

Pork and vegetable rolls

An extensive array of classic Hakata-style pork rolls pairs Hokkaido Yume no Daichi pork belly with exceptional Japanese seasonal vegetables. Enhanced genetics in this four-way crossbreed – Berkshire pigs bred with the three-way Landrace-Yorkshire-Duroc – produce superior intramuscular fat, ensuring Sashi pork that is highly marbled, has a low fat-melting point and retains its intense flavour even after it has cooled.

Heading the list is a Japanese Lettuce and Pork Roll (HK$78) featuring crisp iceberg lettuce from Miyazaki. Coriander from Fukuoka spices Japanese Coriander and Pork Roll (HK$46), while Japanese Chives and Pork Roll (HK$46) and Japanese Mushrooms and Pork Roll (HK$46) are further delights.

Indulge in Premium Wagyu, Chicken and Seafood at the Robatayaki Table
Robatayaki is another cherished Japanese grilling ritual. It originated from communal cooking over a hearth commonly practised by Hokkaido fishermen centuries ago.

Okinawa-born Chef Shimoji Atsushi has expanded the traditional robata repertoire over the past two decades, honing his craft in kitchens across Japan and Hong Kong, including prestigious dining destinations like Inakaya in Tokyo’s Roppongi district as well as its outpost in Hong Kong. In addition to masterful kushiyaki (grilled skewers), he has elevated the simmered delights of oden (fishcake stew) and kamameshi (rice cooked in an iron pot), showcasing his versatility and depth of culinary knowledge.

Driven by a passion for the freshest global ingredients, Chef Shimoji artfully blends them with international seasonings like Italian truffle paste, Mexican chilli powder, Japanese yuzu pepper sauce, and house-made charcoal salt, creating bold, refined flavours that elevate these classic Japanese specialities.

Premium beef cuts are headlined by M7 Grilled Australia Wagyu Harami Steak (HK$228), featuring the natural bold flavour of M7 wagyu skirt; wagyu lovers can also plump for Today’s Chef’s Recommended Wagyu Steak (HK$328). Grilled Beef Rib Fingers Served with Lettuce and Spicy Korean Dressing (HK$268) show the superior marbling of the meat.

Grilled Japanese Chicken Thigh (HK$198) comes from the forests of Okayama, while Grilled Awaodori Chicken Wing (HK$48) reveals its umami flavours. Yume no Daichi pork is married with sweet white miso for Grilled Saikyo Miso Marinated Hokkaido Pork Belly (HK$198).

Hokkaido waters are the source of Salt Grilled Kinki Fish (HK$580), with only coveted red rockfish weighing about 500g selected, as well as the eggy grilled-in-the-shell treat of Hokkaido Scallop ‘Kaiyaki-style’ with Sea Urchin Sauce (HK$268). Tuna Cheek Garlic Steak (HK$228) from Toyosu and Aichi Salt Grilled Japanese Eel served with Wasabi and Eel Sauce (HK$268) complete an enticing seafood selection.

Authentic Washoku Delicacies Elevated with Modern Flair
The third showcase of NADAGOGO’s diverse kitchen is washoku, the traditional cuisine of Japan prepared by the chefs according to time-honoured tenets, plus a dash of modern flair. 3 Types of Delicacies (HK$88) is a house-speciality appetiser combination of umesuisho (shark cartilage marinated with plum), raw octopus with wasabi and firefly squid okizuke. Today’s Special 3 Types of Sashimi Platter (HK$268) bows to the seasons with catches like red sea bream, conger eel and striped horse mackerel.

House-speciality sashimi skewers are creatively paired with different condiments to complement each fresh catch, namely Tuna Sashimi Skewer with Sesame Oil and Sesame Powder (HK$108), Salmon Sashimi and Pickles Skewer with Truffle Paste, Snow White and Black Salt (HK$78), and Octopus Skewer with Salted Basil, Olive Oil and Tajin Powder (HK$78).

Kagoshima Prefecture bestows its prized poultry for Slow-cooked Chicken Liver (HK$78) and Semi-cooked Chicken Fillet Slices with Korean Sauce (HK$88), the latter starring Satsumadori red chicken.

The daily special Sashimi

The culinary team brings a distinctive Japanese flavour to seafood harvested from the Pacific Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, including Avocado Octopus with Wasabi Soy Sauce (HK$108, Pacific) and Crispy Tuna Belly with Scallions (HK$108, Mediterranean). Not to be missed are the large, juicy Fried Tiger Prawn with Salad Sauce (HK$138) and Soft Shell Crab Tempura (HK$108) using Mediterranean crustaceans.

Flavourful bowls of ramen are perfect for soaking up rounds of drinks – particularly Nadagogo-style Chicken Ramen in Salt Flavoured Supreme Soup (HK$118) made to the chef’s own recipe using pork-back fat to enrich its clear forest-chicken broth. Mentaiko Cream Udon (HK$138) is another noodle temptation, while Grilled Rice Ball (HK$42) is a satisfying house-speciality snack.

The chilled, chewy house desserts of Ice Cream Daifuku (choice of vanilla, strawberry or sweet potato, HK$56) and Homemade Warabi Mochi Dumpling (soybean powder, matcha and cocoa flavour, HK$68) clear the palate with a joyful rush; alternatively, linger over the sweetness of Mixed Wild Berry Pancakes (HK$78).

Curated Sake & Beverage Selection to Elevate Everyday Enjoyment
As befitting a vibrant izakaya, copious pours on a drinks menu focusing on quality are on hand to match the culinary diversity of the kitchen. There are thirst-quenching beers, decadent shochu highballs and popular non-alcoholic tipples, but it is the Japanese rice wines that stand out.

Heading the sake list is sublime Aramasa No.6 by the Akita brewery, hailed for its self-cultivated yeast and experimental processes. The No.6 series refers to its nationally certified yeast, which was discovered in the 1930s and is now the oldest used in modern sake brewing. Connoisseurs will treasure the Aramasa No.6 trio of Type X Junmai Daiginjo (720ml, HK$2,880).

A handful of precious sake labels from Obuse, a winery in Nagano known for its production of organic French-style wines like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Manseng, are also recommended. Their rice wines are organic, namasake (non-pasteurised) and made in limited amounts annually using different yeast strains.

From the 2023 vintage are IL Y A 100 Ans 2023 (750ml, HK$1,880), Le Sake Erotique Numero Six 2023 (750ml, HK$1,680), Le Sake Erotique Numero Un 2023 (750ml, HK$1,880), and Le Sake Erotique Trois 2023 (750ml, HK$1,680).

The culinary attractions of this dynamic yakitori-izakaya are not restricted to evening merriment. A dedicated lunch menu (served from 12:00 noon to 2:30 p.m.) invites the area’s business crowd and pleasure seekers to savour affordable sets showcasing the specialities of each chef and a rotating selection of seasonal delights.

Star attractions include a Grilled Japanese Chicken Thigh Set (HK$178), Daily Kushiyaki Set – 5 Kinds (HK$158), M7 Australia Wagyu Harami Steak Set (HK$218), Daily Sashimi Set – 5 Kinds (HK$328) and Tempura Set (HK$188), each including appetiser, pickles, steamed egg custard, miso soup and rice.

Located at G/F, 18 Ship Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong, NADAGOGO opens daily from 12:00 noon to 2:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. For reservations or enquiries, please email [email protected], call (852) 5968-0586 or WhatsApp (852) 5394-3684.

The exterior of the restaurantThe New Dining Experiences at NADAGOGO Inspired by Japan’s Sake Region 2

Editorial Team

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